Ted Cruz Is Right To Question Roger Stone’s Close Ties To The Trump Campaign

Republican presidential candidate Sen. Ted Cruz (R-TX) said he believes that Roger Stone is the Trump campaign’s “outside henchman” and “dirty trickster.” Stone has numerous connections to the Trump campaign: He speaks frequently with Trump, has “spoken on his behalf,” heads a super PAC supporting the front-runner, helped place his business partner to a top campaign position, and feeds strategy to the candidate.

During an April 13 CNN town hall special, Cruz repeatedly criticized Trump’s association with Stone. Cruz said that Stone “was threatening to out the hotel rooms of delegates who dared to cross Trump so they could be intimidated.” He added that Stone is “their outside henchman. They use him for their dirty work.”

On an April 12 appearance on Sean Hannity’s radio program, Cruz criticized Trump for “associating himself” with “dirty trickster” Stone.  

Stone has drawn criticism from both conservatives and liberals for his racist and sexist attacks. Media Matters and the Media Research Center have called on media outlets to keep Stone off the airwaves.

Stone is a longtime Trump friend and adviser. He told one interviewer that “Trump has been my friend for 35 years. … He went to my wedding when I got married. I went to two out of three of his weddings. I was at both his parents’ funerals and wakes, his brother-in-law’s wake.”

Stone does not have an official paid role with the campaign, having left in August following a dispute over tactics. But that has not stopped Stone from continuing to help Trump and his campaign through other avenues. Here are five examples.

Stone Heads A Pro-Trump Super PAC

In mid-December, Stone helped organize the super PAC Committee to Restore America’s Greatness. The group is dedicated to stopping Republicans from allegedly stealing the nomination from Trump at the Republican convention.

Emails sent by Stone for the group tout his insider connections. A February 5 fundraising email by Stone stated that “I am a veteran of nine national Republican presidential campaigns starting with Nixon, working for Reagan, helping Senator Bob Dole, and working for current presidential front-runner Donald Trump. I have been a friend and adviser to Donald Trump for 37 years, since we met in Ronald Reagan's presidential campaign. I chaired Trump's Presidential Exploratory Committee in 2000 and wanted him to run in 2012.”

Stone And Trump “Talk On A Semi-Regular Basis”

In September, Stone told TPM that he and Trump "talk. I have not signed on with any super PAC so I have no prohibition. … We talk on a semi-regular basis and it’s cordial. But I have no formal — I resigned any formal role. We just talk politics.”

Stone has repeatedly mentioned his talks with Trump both before and after signing on with a super PAC. For instance:

  • In a November 10 interview with City & State, Stone remarked that “I just got off the phone with Trump about 20 minutes ago.”
  • During a February 28 interview, Stone friend and ally Alex Jones introduced Stone by saying his guest had just talked to Trump for “45 minutes.” On February 22, Jones said that Stone is “the shadow manager of Trump's campaign.”
  • During a March 1 appearance on WIOD's Fernand R. Amandi, Stone said he “spoke to the candidate last night” but wouldn’t divulge what they talked about.
  • In a March 30 GQ interview, Stone said he talks with Trump “from time to time. … We just have a rhythm. More often than that, but not every day, not every other day.”

Stone Helped Place His Longtime Friend As Trump’s Top Aide

Stone reportedly introduced and recommended Paul Manafort, Trump’s new top campaign aide, to the business magnate. On April 6, Stone said of their relationship: “My partner Paul Manafort, partner of 15 years, a friend of mine of almost 50 years, someone I’ve known since childhood, is without any question the single best convention organizer and strategist in the country.” Stone was a partner with Manafort in the lobbying firm Black, Manafort, Stone and Kelly.

Stone Has Helped Trump On Campaign Strategy And Outreach

In December and January, Trump attacked Hillary Clinton for allegedly being an “enabler” of “one of the great woman abusers of all time,” President Bill Clinton. He then sourced his attacks to Stone’s book The Clinton's War on Women. Media outlets noted at the time that Trump was seizing on Stone’s line of attacks. Stone also suggested that Trump was using his research: “I think The Donald gave a subliminal plug to my book The Clintons’ War on Women, which is all the opposition research needed to beat Hillary.”

In December, Trump appeared on conspiracy theorist Alex Jones’ program. During the appearance, Trump praised the 9/11 conspiracy theorist as having an “amazing” reputation and promised, “I will not let you down.” Trump took time out from the interview to thank Stone for his help. Jones said that Stone “helped get this interview set up.” Trump responded that Stone is “a good guy" and "a patriot,” and “he’s been so loyal and so wonderful and he is the one, he really wanted me to do this interview. And I'm doing it, so we appreciate it, Roger.”

Stone On Trump: “I Have Spoken On His Behalf”

On a December 6 radio program, Stone said that “I remain a strong supporter of Trump’s. I have spoken on his behalf even though we disagree on some issues.” Stone also boasts about defending Trump in the media in tweets and in fundraising emails, writing in one: “You have seen me talk about my support for Donald Trump on Fox News, CNN, MSNBC, Newsmax, and The Today Show, as well as Morning Joe.”